After months of delay, the underground multi-level parking project near Delhi High Court has been given a go-ahead by a green panel with the Central and state governments declaring the a tomb located at the construction site as "unprotected".
However, the project is yet to pass the litmus test of Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) which has raised objection to its location citing construction threat to the 15th century monument belonging to Sher Shah Suri's period.
To be developed by the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC), the Rs 125 crore project had been hanging fire for the last one year because of controversy over the status of the monument at the construction site.
However, in a meeting held recently the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) of Delhi approved the project after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and State Department of Archaeology declared that "as of now the said tomb located within the project site is unprotected."
The archaeological departments of the Central and state governments in their letter to the Authority said that the protected limits around a monument area as stipulated in the Ancient Monuments, Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, as amended to date (the Central Act) and Delhi Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 2004 (The Delhi Act), were not applicable to the unprotected monuments.
Interestingly, the tomb features in the list of 141 heritage monuments and structures in the NDMC area notified recently. As per the notification, no alterations or demolition can be made to any of the structures in the list without referring the proposal to the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC).
The parking lot, the foundation stone of which was laid by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit two years ago, will have six levels to accommodate over 1,500 cars.